Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate

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A therapist assistant working with a client.


  • Kelowna
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  • Full program offered
  • Partial program offered



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Tuition and fees

2022-23: 2,878.18

  • Fees include all mandatory fees: Activity fee, Health & Dental, Student Association fee, Education Technology fee, Development fee.

  • All amounts are approximate and are subject to change.

  • Detailed domestic tuition and fees information

Program details

The Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate (RTAC) will prepare the graduate to work as an Assistant to Recreation Therapists and as Recreation Therapy Workers. It is a ten-month certificate of full-time study including two semesters of coursework plus 8 weeks of practical experience in clinical settings.

Recreation Therapist Assistants help to plan, coordinate, and deliver recreation-based treatment programs for people of all ages, with a variety of disabilities, injuries, or conditions, in many healthcare and community settings.

Principles, theory, and practice will be taught at the Assistant level in the discipline of Recreation Therapy. Students will obtain an academic and practical foundation in the areas of health and recreation.

Students will graduate with a Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate (RTAC) which will enable them to work at an entry-level as an assistant in the area of recreation therapy and as a recreation and/or activity therapy worker.

Education Pathways:

Students in, and graduates of, the Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate (RTAC) program may apply to the Therapist Assistant Diploma (TAD) program and complete remaining courses to satisfy the diploma graduation requirements to become a Physiotherapist Assistant and Occupational Therapist Assistant. To apply to the Therapist Assistant Diploma, the RTAC student must fulfill all of the admission requirements for the Therapist Assistant diploma.

A Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate student who is considering applying to TAD, may take the additional Adult Upgrading Classes (e.g. BIOL 12, CHEM 11) to satisfy the admission requirements along with the RTAC program (depending on course availability due to class scheduling).

For students interested in starting with part-time college programming after completing the RTAC program as a pathway to the Therapist Assistant diploma: students may wish to complete the required university transfer courses in English, Biology and Psychology to apply into TAD through that admission option. To take the university transfer courses, the student must meet the prerequisites for each course and would apply to the college through Arts.

What is the Recreation Therapist Assistant Diploma (RTAC) Certificate?

The Recreation Therapist Assistant Diploma (RTAC) Certificate at Okanagan College a 1-year certificate program which prepares the graduate to work as an Assistant to Recreation Therapists (RTs) and as Recreation Therapy Workers. Recreation Therapist Assistants (RTAs) help to plan, coordinate, and deliver recreation-based treatment programs for people of all ages, with a variety of disabilities, injuries, or conditions, in many healthcare and community settings.

Still not sure what an RTA is? Check out these helpful videos:

How long is the Certificate? 

The Certificate is a one-year program.  It is comprised of two semesters plus 8 weeks of supervised clinical experience.  The courses run from September to June. 

Where is the Certificate held?

All classes are at the Kelowna campus.

 What are the Career opportunities with this diploma? 

The demand for RTAs has continually grown and expanded. In addition to positions advertised as “Recreation Therapist Assistant”, other jobs titles you may qualify for include:

  • Recreation Therapist Assistant/Worker
  • Activity Worker/Aide
  • Community Activity Worker
  • Adult Day Service Worker
  • Life Skills Worker

You will find these employment possibilities in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, residential care facilities, community agencies and private practices. Here are some examples of places you can search for jobs:

What are the wages for Recreation Therapist Assistants? 

The typical hourly wage in BC is approximately $28 per hour. This varies depending on workplace (see links above).

Can graduates work in other provinces? 

Yes, graduates may find employment across Canada. 

How many students are accepted into the Certificate each year? 

Enrollment is limited to 5 seats. Admission is first come, first served for those who meet the requirements found on the RTAC website:

Are there additional costs other than tuition? 

Yes, there are additional costs, such as books, supplies, travel and accommodation for placements, etc. 

 Are there clinical placements in the Certificate? 

Yes. You will spend 3 weeks in your first RTA practicum, and then 5 weeks in an RTA preceptorship. These two experiences may also be combined into one 8-week placement. These clinical experiences have the same hours as a regular job, but they are a mandatory part of the Certificate and are educational, unpaid, opportunities. Depending on the student, and the circumstances, these opportunities are offered locally, throughout BC and sometimes in other provinces. You may have to travel for at least one placement during the Certificate.

Can I work part time and go to school? 

Some students may have no problem working part time while going to school, while others may struggle.  The RTAC Certificate does have a heavy course load and requires approximately 2 – 3 hours of homework per night. 

Can I take the RTAC Certificate on a part-time basis? 

Not at this time.

Can I take the RTAC Certificate online?

At this time, there is no online option for courses. All classes and labs require in-person attendance.

What is the difference between RTAC and RTAC







Length of Certificate

2 years

1 year

Types of Certificate




Required to have:

  • Chem 11
  • Bio 12
  • Other requirements listed here:

Required to have:

Hours in Class

Up to 30 hours per week

Approx. 11 hours per week

Hours in Placements

36 hours per week

36 hours per week

Number of Placements

1st year: 2 placements (8 weeks)

2nd year: 2 placements (10 weeks)

2 placements (8 weeks)


Yes (by OTA/PTA EAP)


Can I do the TAD Diploma after completing the RTAC Certificate?

Yes, and we encourage you to take this pathway! If you wish to pursue this pathway, you must apply to the RTAC Certificate and meet the entrance requirements.

What is the tuition cost for the RTAC Certificate?

This information may be found on the Okanagan College Tuition Fees page:

Who might be interested in the Recreation Therapist Assistant Diploma Certificate?

Individuals with an interest in therapeutic recreation and working in health care and community settings should consider the Recreation Therapist Assistant Certificate. Being able to relate, interact and communicate with people of all ages is a valued asset. 

Campus Start date Schedule
Kelowna Sep. 04, 2024

Admission requirements

Academic Admission Requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for at least one year as of the first day of classes.

Other Admission Requirements

  • Current certification in Red Cross Standard First Aid or St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid. Current certification in CPR Level C.
  • Results of tuberculin testing done no more than six months before the date of application with evidence of appropriate follow up if the test was positive.
  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.

Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that their immunizations are current and to be immunized for Hepatitis B. Failure to submit all required documentation by a specified deadline may result in denial of admission. Applicants are strongly advised to have at least a beginner's level of competency with computers and word processing.

Pre-practice Requirements (required for clinical placements)

  • Okanagan College Immunizations Record
  • Proof of Vaccination for Covid-19 (healthcare placement requirement)
  • Student Practice Education Core Orientation or SPECO (online curriculum, requirement for all students prior to placement in BC health authorities)
  • Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum or PVPC (in person, requirement for all students prior to placement in BC health authorities)
  • Fit Mask Testing (Fitting for N95 respirator mask)

Program outline

Semester 1

Complete All of the following:
THER 102 - Communication and Group Process
THER 103 - Disease and Disability
THER 140 - Recreation Therapy Assistant: Principles & Practice I

Semester 2

Complete All of the following:
THER 104 - Client Care Principles & Practice: Introductory
THER 125 - Practicum Preparation
THER 141 - Recreation Therapist Assistant II: Principles & Practice
THER 150 - Practicum I: Recreation Therapist Assistant
THER 152 - Preceptorship: Recreation Therapist Assistant

Completion of all required course work with a minimum of 70% for each THER lecture and lab component and a PASS in both practica.

Additional information

View the official Calendar details and policies
Learn more about the department
View the Tuition and fees page


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